There is evidence in the literature to suggest that females with type 2 diabetes may have higher levels of circulating androgens, which may play a role in the etiology of the disease. The purpose of this study was to determine if females with type 2 diabetes have sex-atypical body proportions and if they are more aggressive than their female control counterparts. Subjects were patients, visitors, and staff at six Southern California hospitals and clinics. Eight lower arm and hand traits were compared bilaterally and a 27-item questionnaire for each subject was completed. Measurements of the wrist, hand width, hand length, third proximal phalange, and second and fourth digits were completed using an electronic caliper. Measurements of the ulna, lower arm length, and stature were recorded. A modified Leifer-Roberts Response Hierarchy questionnaire was used to determine aggressiveness in male and female diabetics and controls. Analysis confirmed earlier work showing a sexual dimorphism in ulna:stature ratios and in hand width:hand length ratios. White females, but not Hispanics, with type 2 diabetes demonstrated a significantly higher ulna:stature ratio than their control counterparts (p < .01) as well as a higher hand width:hand length ratio (p < .02). However, hand length:stature ratios were not significantly elevated in female diabetics. Although not statistically different from the control females, the type 2 diabetics had median aggression scores that were higher than female controls. Unlike the control females, the aggression scores of the female diabetics did not differ from control males. The results of this study could be explained by elevated androgens during development. The data suggest that androgen levels may have been elevated prior to the termination of bone growth in adolescence. Further studies should be performed to examine other indicators of androgen exposure to improve the understanding of the etiology of this disease.
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